Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tips from the recent NAPRP teleseminar about increasing adoptions

For any of you who missed the recent teleseminar about increasing adoptions featuring Bonney Brown from the Nevada Humane Society, here are some notes taken by Susan Daffron, President of the National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals, who sponsored the call. FYI the slides from the call are still up on the NAPRP website, so go grab ‘em!

Here are a few tips from Susan’s notes:

1. Look for creative ways to get people in the door and make it easier for people to adopt from you. If you have a facility, Bonney suggests making it more inviting by changing the decor seasonally, keeping some animals in group areas, providing "meet and greet" spaces, and putting cages in walkways where people will notice them. Also make sure you extend your hours to times when people are off work. Make sure your adoption process is as streamlined as possible.

2. Look for ways to make the match. Instead of looking for ways people will "fail" screenings, turn it around. Statistically, most people don't adopt from animal shelters or rescue. Once you have people "in the door" (either physically or virtually) look for solutions people may not have thought about, so the adoption can proceed. People who want a pet will get it somewhere; find ways for adoption to be the best option.

3. Impulse adoptions aren't bad. Bonney pointed out that studies have shown that people who adopt an animal on impulse aren't any more likely to return it than other people. Many of us do things such as get married, have children, and countless other things based on impulse alone. So eliminating a waiting period to adopt, doing Super Adoptions, showcasing pets at PetSmart (or other pet stores), and having your pets available for adoption at events is not going to increase your return rate. Get your animals out there and make it easy for people to fall in love with them.

4. Having "sales" works. In retail, a sale gets people in the door. So do reduced adoption fees. Lowered prices are a great media "hook" so you can get free publicity. You can have the flexibility to offer lower adoption fees if you increase your fundraising and solicit more donations. The Nevada Humane Society has even had free adoption days.

5. Promote your animals individually and aggressively. The Nevada Humane Society runs promotions constantly. They have co-opted almost every holiday and used it as an excuse for an event or promotion to get more people in the door. Bonney says, "every challenge is an opportunity." For example, when you get 54 cats from a hoarding case, it's an opportunity to showcase those animals in the media. If you have a cat that isn't particularly friendly, run a special ad about her that says, "Could you love a beautiful lady with an attitude?"

The statistics are compelling. The Nevada Humane Society increased their adoption rate 53% in a year by lowering barriers to adoption (more stats are on their Web site).

With planning, you can too! Yes, all of the techniques require manpower, but with all the additional promotion and media exposure, it is easier to recruit more volunteers. Bonney also pointed out that you need to ASK for volunteers for very specific tasks and realize that they come and go.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shelters – want to increase adoptions? Join this call tomorrow!

The National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals is an awesome community for anyone involved in dog breed rescue, cat rescue or who works for a humane society or animal shelter. They have both a free and a paid membership option and provide some excellent resources and support for all you’re doing to help animals! For example:

Tomorrow (March 24) at 1pm Pacific (3pm Central), they’re hosting a teleseminar for anyone who is interested, about “Increasing Adoptions" with Bonney Brown, Executive Director for the Nevada Humane Society!

Call details:

  • Wednesday March 24, 2010 at 1pm Pacific Time, 3pm Central
  • Phone-Number to Dial: 206-701-8388
  • Use Conference ID: 178426#

Get the Handout!

Download the PDF before the call from the home page of the NAPRP Web site at (it's on the right-hand side under Announcements)

About Bonney Brown:

Bonney is the Executive Director of the Nevada Humane Society. She joined the organization in 2007 and within a few months Washoe County went virtually no-kill. From 2006 to 2007, the NHS increased it's adoption rate by 53%. Despite a per-capita intake rate higher than many communities nationwide, NHS is the safest community of its size for dogs in the United States and one of the safest for cats.

In 2009, thanks to innovative programs and their commitment to saving lives, the humane society is enjoying a 93% save rate for dogs and a 95% save rate for cats. In 2009, they adopted 9,184 animals, which is an increase of 6% (549 animals).

Before joining NHS, Bonney was the Chief Operations Officer for Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. She also served as Best Friends’ Communication Director and National No More Homeless Pets Director. As the Campaign Director for Alley Cat Allies Bonney managed their Katrina rescue and recover project.

FYI Golden Paw members of NAPRP will be able to access a recording of the call for on-demand listening at your convenience.

We think this is a great opportunity to join other pet rescue professionals and learn from someone who has proven results. Check back in with us afterwards and share your thoughts about the call – we’d love to hear your great ideas for increasing adoptions too!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Emergency and Disaster preparedness for pets


News of natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes always serves as a reminder that we should consider our own emergency plans. And it’s not only catastrophic events that might require that you implement your plan – severe weather can easily create conditions that can escalate quickly into an emergency-response situation, and household emergencies can be triggered at any time.

And, improvements following Katrina notwithstanding, making sure your pets are safe and can stay with you is going to be a challenge.

So do as the Boy Scouts do and be prepared! A bit of planning now can save you a world of heartache in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Get informed

Learn about what you should plan for and do in the event of an emergency or disaster. There are plenty of good information sources online:

 Pet First Aid and CPR training

Remember, there is no 911 for pets, so your knowledge of basic first aid can be the difference between life and death, and it’s so easy everyone should know it. Here are some local resources:

Can’t afford the time or money for a class? Here are some useful books and DVDs:

imagePet First Aid kits

There’s nothing worse than having to scramble and improvise when you know a pet’s life could be in danger. Even minor injuries are easier to deal with when you have the right provisions! Have a basic first aid kit at home and in your car (imagine being able to help an animal who has been run over simply because you thought ahead!).

You can easily (and cheaply) put together a kit yourself, or you can purchase an already-assembled kit (a bit pricier).

Emergency/Disaster preparedness kits

More comprehensive than a simple first aid kit, these are designed to help you through that critical first 72 hours or so after a disaster, when infrastructure is down and first responders are still working on stabilizing the situation. Comprehensive information and kits are available.

  • Emergency and Disaster survival – pet survival
  • – an awesome emergency evacuation and pet survival kit that is both a carrier and a litter box, and contains emergency supplies. Also, if you enter “American Humane” at checkout you’ll get a 5% savings AND will receive $12 towards its work on behalf of animals!

Hopefully you and your pet will never need these resources but as always, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Being a responsible pet owner also means being a responsible neighbor.

clipart image of woman with dog Rebecca Poling’s latest Examiner article talks about the need for pet owners to consider their community, and points out that pet owners need to be held accountable for their impact on a community. A controversial article? Maybe for some, but teaching people to be responsible pet owners is what Companions For Life does, and part of being a responsible pet owner is being a responsible neighbor.

After all, pets are like kids – not everybody likes them (inexplicable though that may be to you, their doting guardian)… and although you might think yours are the cutest, smartest, most talented and most lovable in the world, not everybody is going to agree.

So while you think it’s sweet that Fido misses you when you go to work, the guy who works night shift in the apartment next door might be slowly going mad from the incessant barking during the day. And no matter how charming you think it is that your friendly feline likes to visit every home on the street, the family with allergies up the road certainly doesn’t appreciate the company. And NOBODY likes stepping in something undesirable on the curbside as they get into/out of their car, or having to cross the road to avoid an overexcited dog on “walkies”.

“Is all this really that big a deal?” you ask – YES, yes it is! A cantankerous neighbor could make your life a living hell (especially if he’s the President of the Home Owners Association, or knows your landlord) and may even be within their rights to demand that you surrender your pet or send the police around for noncompliance with municipal ordinances, like that old couple in Dallas recently. Or it could be worse – a ticked off neighbor could take matters into their own hands and injure, or even kill your pet in order to get rid of the “problem”.

Being aware of the constraints of living in an urban (especially high-density) area is important, and the closer the quarters, the more important it is to be considerate of others whether they agree with your love of animals or not.

clipart image of couple walking a dog And finally, as a pet owner in a city, you are an advocate for responsible pet ownership – how you (and your pet) conduct yourself can have far-reaching influence: pet owners who are perceived to be a nuisance, or inconsiderate, could be the reason why the Association votes to be a pet-free community at the next Board meeting, or quite the opposite – the more pet owners that prove they are considerate, clean and quiet, the better the options will be for neighborhoods, condos and apartments to accept pets without penalty.

None of us is an island - our actions have implications. Being a responsible member of the community will ultimately mean a better life for us and our pets!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Help Dallas Animal Services staff get the critical training they need to better help our animals!


We all want our animal control officers, shelter workers, veterinarians, and law enforcement officers to have the tools they need to improve the quality of care for shelter animals and animals in cruelty situations. To do their job well, these professionals need continuing education to satisfy licensing requirements, keep up with new developments in the animal welfare industry and to be more effective for our community’s animals.

But in this economy, getting that training can be especially challenging. Like so many other City departments, Dallas Animal Services' budget belt had to be tightened and as a result NO funds are available for training this fiscal year.

The good news is that many from Dallas Animal Services are asking, in fact, begging for more training, and you can help. A great educational opportunity for animal welfare professionals is coming up this Spring and Metroplex Animal Coalition, Companions For Life, and Dallas Animal Advocates are teaming up to raise money to send deserving Dallas Animal Services staff members.

"Texas Unites" is an unparalleled educational conference which begins March 26th in Austin. Co-hosted by the three largest professional animal care and control organizations in Texas - the Texas Animal Shelter Coalition, the Texas Federation of Humane Societies and the Texas Animal Control Association, "Texas Unites" offers 36 courses in four specialized tracks including Field Operations & Animal Cruelty Investigations, Shelter Operations & Placement, and Veterinary & Health. For four days, experts from across the state will be joined by professionals from HSUS, PetsMart Charities, ASPCA, to share their knowledge with attendees.

We think you’ll agree that our community's animal services workers should learn from the best in the industry about topics range from identifying animal cruelty and courtroom testimony to operational issues involved in large seizures and volunteer recruiting and screening to strategies for disease prevention in the shelter.

We need your contribution to make this education a reality:

  • Your contribution of $25, when combined with three others, could pay for one night at the conference hotel
  • Your contribution of $65 will pay for 1/2 the cost of registration for one staff member.
  • Your contribution of $99 will pay for one night's stay at the conference hotel's special reduced rate just for conference attendees.
  • Your contribution of $125 will pay for registration for one staff member for the entire 3-day conference including an inspirational keynote presentation by Texas own Kinky Friedman.
  • Your contribution of $300 will pay for one double-occupancy room for two animal control officers for 3 nights
  • Your contribution of $425 will pay for conference registration and hotel room for one staff veterinarian or animal control officer.

Donations in any amount are greatly appreciated. You can donate online using MasterCard, Visa, American Express or PayPal through the Dallas Animal Advocates website at - just click on the Donate button at the bottom left. Or send a check or money order payable to Dallas Animal Advocates, 11700 Preston Road, Suite 660-318, Dallas, Texas 75230-2718.

Please help us by sending your donation today. Early bird registration ends February 28, 2010 and hotel space is limited so we must reserve soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DFW Spay Day 2010 is happening in Feb!

image Metroplex Animal Coalition is hosting its 2nd annual DFW Spay Day (which is actually a week long) where they will be offering 300 surgeries and vaccinations the last week in February, 2010.

Go to the website at for information on dates and times, reservations or if you’d like to make a donation towards the surgeries.

Not in the DFW area? No problem, check out info on the HSUS 2010 Spay Day at and locate a Spay Day event near you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Michael Vick and the Ed Block Courage award

You probably all know that the Philadelphia Eagles recently voted Michael Vick as their preferred recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. What a travesty! The Ed Block Foundation is dedicated to promoting awareness and assisting in the prevention of child abuse.  That objective is combined with the Foundation's commitment to celebrating players of inspiration in the NFL.  Each year, every NFL team votes for one of its players to receive the Ed Block Courage Award.  It is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in the NFL, and heralds the winner as an example of inspiration, spirit, and bravery.

WHAT where the Eagles thinking, nominating Michael VICK, the man who epitomizes the exact opposite of what the award should represent?!

Child abuse and animal abuse are perpetrated by the same time types of people (often the same people, as we all know that domestic violence and animal abuse go hand in hand, just as much as animal abuse often presages violence against humans): cowardly and craven bullies taking advantage of an innocent, dependent being. There is no-one LESS courageous than someone who abuses either children or animals.

Vick is NOT a courageous man – he is a cowardly creature who tortured and abused animals for pleasure and the approval of his equally degenerate peers. There's nothing courageous about bowing to peer pressure; there’s nothing courageous about abusing animals. And where's the courage when Vick, offered the opportunity to look the surviving dogs in the eyes, refused to step up even for that?? This is no hero, there is no courage. That man is the ultimate coward, through and through.

Please sign a petition against Vick’s nomination – it’s a travesty and makes a mockery of all the truly brave NFL players who deserve to be nominated, not to mention the real heroes – people who put their safety and peace of mind on the line every day to prevent animal abuse and those who rescue the victims. Sign to stop this prestigious award from being tarnished by association with the likes of Michael Vick -